Corporate Hustling

Assume two competitors, Coke and Pepsi for instance. Do you think it’s ever been entertained that a BSD from Coke goes to work at Pepsi while secretly remaining employed at Coke? The covert Coke employee working at Pepsi could gain access to the network drive, see marketing initiatives, strategy, supplier contracts, and other material nonpublic information. I could easily see this happening given paying some dude $150k/year to obtain competitor data is really a drop in the bucket all things considered.

Or how about paying an IT consultant to hack Pepsi’s network obtaining various secrets? I’m sure there are shady Indians/Asians who’d do this for pennies an hour (Not being racist, just truth. Our firm gets attacks/hacks/threats from SE Asia and India constantly).

Even a PI is an idea to obtain competitive intelligence, find blackmail worthy dirt, etc.

I know companies love to paint a rosy picture on how ethical, diverse, and full of integrity they are; but deep down all that counts is money with too much never being enough. Anyone have any stories to share?

One story I have in particular. A prior company I was at was a PE backed company. The PE firm that backed us trolled interest in one of our competitors looking to raise equity. They shared our competitor’s entire data book with us regarding everything our competitor was doing, strategy, and other material nonpublic information. Completely unethical and infracting the confidentiality clause/NDA that was signed, but it happened. I felt a little slimy analyzing that data for the superiors there. I was tempted to email the CFAI to see if I was committing an ethical violation (I’m sure I was, but I didn’t want to be the whistleblower).

[FYI, the company above no longer exists, the PE firm was trying to cheat their way out of a poor investment]

What other stories of corporate trench warfare are out there?

I’ve seen people not wash their hands after taking a dump.

I’m sure people have thought of such shady business, but the consequences are enormous. You’d have to pay me a lot more than $150k to run the risk of being blackballed or sent to prison. In fact, I just wouldn’t do it. Now someone might be more money motivated and give it a spin, but for the execs of the company, approving such a move could also be a jail sentence. The one thing these guys seem to value more than money is freedom. So I’m not sure your Coke/Pepsi example regularly happens.

I’m pretty sure that’s against the CFA CoE.

You can go to prison for this? I thought it was a civil matter, not criminal.

Sounds like theft and/or fraud, to me. A couple people were arrested years ago because they stole the formula for Coke and tried to sell it to Pepsi. Pepsi alerted the authorities.

The Economic Espionage Act of 1996 would probably apply in severe cases. Could also be fraud. Perhaps extortion if you tried to play both companies off against each other for the highest price.

Respect. This answers my inquiry.

Idk about corporates but this was the movie plot for “The Departed”. They called these planted agents “rats”. Quite a good movie.

Rockefeller was straight up hustlin with Standard Oil, but not in the fashion you mention OP.

Wasn’t there a story of two guys at the head of 2 trading desk, trading against each other and had agreement to split the big bonus that one of the two was sure to get? (someone definately confirm this story before repeating it, I swore I heard it somewhere or maybe I made it up one tired night trying to think of a way to make money)

I’ve suggested (off the record, of course) that one of our analysts should apply for a role at oil and gas companies that involves supervising joint ventures.